TV Review: American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare - Episode 3
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RIP Herschell Gordon Lewis
Where to begin? How about starting with James Franco's performance, which was well-deserving of the Best Actor nomination at this year's Oscars. Prior to the accident, Franco presents Aron in a sort of arrogant and cocky attitude with his interaction with the two female hikers at the beginning of the film, as well as his carefree attitude about his trip (Danny Boyle's direction helps along the way, of course). When Aron gets trapped in his order, Franco proceeds to turn on the intensity and raw emotion that could be interpreted as the closest thing you'd get in a real-life situation as this. Franco captured the mental and physical pain the real-life Aron Ralston went through during his five-day ordeal with such realism that you'd really believe his last-resort effort of first breaking then sawing his own arm off was the do-or-die situation as it was presented.
Speaking of Danny Boyle's direction, the camerawork in 127 HOURS is nothing short of again being amazing. We're stuck in the canyon with Aron for the majority of the film, the focus squarely on him. Boyle has some guts for doing this, as really what can you do with a film about a guy trapped in a canyon for 94 minutes? Plenty, as Boyle establishes several times the remoteness of the area (that long zoom out from the crevice Aron occupies to being several stories in the air, for one), Aron's lack of fluids (the fast track back from the crevice all the way to a Gatorade bottle in the back of Aron's SUV) the various challenges Aron faces and so on. The tightness of the shots really do make it seem as if you're in there with Aron, which really does make the film much more intense.
The music is also a biggie, and again sells the situation and emotion Aron feels. Particularly, I adored the music for when Aron decides that it's time to get his ass out of the canyon. In order to do this, he has to perform a little "surgery". The music is decidedly low-key, right up until Aron hits a nerve. The sudden shock of pain Aron feels is felt by the viewer through the musical "stings" of feedback, which are as unsettling as the visuals. Of course, the tension grows until Aron finally severs the nerve, the feedback screaming through the speakers as Aron inaudibly screams. Then there's his eventual discovery by the family on a hike, where the music again has the anticipation of Aron calling out for help, pleading just as the viewer pleads for Aron to be heard. Once the family turns around, the music celebrates just as the viewer does. Really powerful stuff.
So yeah, I can't say anything bad about 127 HOURS. The film is just overwhelmed with the good stuff like Boyle's direction and camerawork, Franco's performance, the soundtrack and more. I know it's not a horror film, but the gory time Aron has in breaking and severing his arm will provide a your fix (be warned, as it's pretty realistic and definitely not the over-the-top stuff). This film was definitely worth the six Oscar nominations, and definitely worth your time to watch.
Audio: Like the picture, the sound is excellent, enveloping the viewer in the sheer size of the environment. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track brings echoes across the canyon walls, storms, stampedes and even the tiny clicks of ants walking to life. The music definitely is a big plus, too. As mentioned before, the stingers of feedback when Aron is busy carving his arm up hit hard. Simply a great track.
With Search & Rescue, we get the real Aron's side of the story, detailing the event surrounding his trip and rescue. This also includes Aron's loved ones and the state park officials who participated in searching for and rescuing the guy. It really hammers in the sheer luck and, let's face it, miracle that things happened to be in the right place at the right time, or else Aron wouldn't be around (which he readily admits). Again, fascinating.
Finishing things off related to the film is the making-of doc, 127 Hours: An Extraordinary View. This puppy goes over the obvious challenges facing a production such as this, as well as a focus on the brilliant camera work and Franco's performance. The effects guys even get a nod when they talk about the prosthetic arm that Franco has to work on, which once you see the film, is gruesomely realistic.
The other extra included is Luke Matheny's Academy Award-winning short, God Is Love. Why it's included on this set, I have no idea. But given that Matheny won the Oscar this year for it, does it matter? Black and white brilliance.
All of the extras are presented in HD. The package also includes a glossy slipcover, but I didn't get one with my copy. What everyone won't get is the film's theatrical trailer, proving once again why I hate Fox when they pull BS like this, since instead we get a trailer for FX instead. Why?
This disc is also BD-Live Enabled.